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August 22, 2022
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Fetal Personhood: Next Abortion Fight

Abortion bans have reached half of US states, but they are not the endgame for anti-abortion advocates.
The next goal is fetal personhood laws, which grant fetuses legal protections afforded to any person, The New York Times reports.
  • Abortion could be considered murder in states with fetal personhood laws that do not have exceptions for rape and incest.
  • Once symbolic laws are now changing policy: In Georgia, for example, fetuses now qualify for tax credits.

Long view: A federal ban on abortion—not just regulation in states—has been the goal of anti-abortion activists.
The Quote: “The movement very much wants a declaration that abortion is a human rights and constitutional rights violation. Not just that it’s a crime; that it’s unconstitutional,” said Mary Ziegler, a University of California, Davis law professor. “From a symbolic standpoint, that’s a really big deal to a lot of people in the movement.”
Hundreds of Americans a week are seeking abortion help from Mexico – and most of them want a safe hand-off of abortion drugs at the border – Yahoo News
Indiana’s new abortion ban may drive some young OB-GYNs to leave a state where they’re needed – Salon


The Latest


“Tomato fever”: 82 cases of a rare viral infection that causes red blisters on the skin have been reported in Kerala, India; the disease is caused by an enterovirus and thought to be “a variation of hand, food, and mouth disease.” The Times of India
“Skyrocketing” hunger: Half of Tigray’s population is in “severe” need of food, and malnutrition rates are surging and likely to get worse; the Ethiopian government has allowed aid to the besieged region since March, but a lack of fuel has hampered delivery of food aid. Reuters

Vax stretching: The EU has endorsed a “fractional dosing” for monkeypox vaccines; the approach, also used in the US, stretches out monkeypox vaccinations by dividing single vials into multiple doses. Reuters

Take 10,000 steps and call me in the morning: General practitioners in England will soon prescribe walking and cycling in new trial that seeks to improve health and reduce health disparities; the Department for Transport is providing £12.7 million to 11 local authorities to fund the pilot, which includes adult cycle training and free bike loans. The Independent

COVID-19 News

Philippine schools reopen after one of world’s longest shutdowns – Al Jazeera

COVID-19 caused millions of school closures. Here's the low-tech solution that is keeping kids in developing nations learning – ABC

FDA authorizes Novavax Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in ages 12-17 – CNN

SARS CoV-2 detected in neonatal stool remote from maternal COVID-19 during pregnancy – Nature

Eric Topol: We’re starting to understand long COVID. Next we can fight it – Los Angeles Times (commentary)

What comes after Omicron? – RNZ


A ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ Approach to Virus Origins

As Chinese officials increasingly try to point to COVID-origins outside of the country, the country’s researchers seem to be following suit, warn incredulous foreign scientists.
  • Global take: There is strong global consensus that the virus emerged in China, despite lingering questions about how exactly the outbreak began.
  • Shifting the narrative: The Chinese government’s pivot to blame an outside origin is reflected in recent studies—including some that find zero trace of SARS-CoV-2 in local animals, and others that suggest the virus could have arrived in the country via imported food. 
  • Outraged response: Global scientists, including many with long ties to Chinese researchers, call such findings preposterous—among other more colorfully worded descriptors—and warn that government pressure is forcing China's scientific community to resort to “smoke and mirrors.”




Lyme Jab Trials on the Horizon

As Lyme disease case counts continue to rise, researchers are recruiting thousands of volunteers for 2 new vaccine trials that will span tick seasons over the next 2 years.
  • Growing demand: Warming temperatures have allowed ticks to expand their habitat, leading to an increase in Lyme cases. The race for a shot presents a sharp contrast to the field 20 years ago—when a Lyme vaccine was shelved due to lackluster uptake. 
  • The 2 vaccines, from Pfizer and Velneva, are designed to shield both adults and children from the most common Lyme strains in Europe and North America. Early-stage studies showed positive immune response, and no safety problems. 

Al Jazeera


A female Anopheles dirus takes a blood meal from a human host. CDC/ James Gathany

Actually, This Is an Anopheles

The photo accompanying Friday’s World Mosquito Day commentary was incorrectly labeled by our photo service as an Anopheles. It was, in fact, a Culex mosquito, as commentary writer Michael Macdonald kindly pointed out.
The above skeeter is an Anopheles. We regret the error. —Brian



Polio spread in Israel, US, UK highlights extremely rare risk of oral vaccine – AP via Times of Israel

Ukraine war pushes up price of emergency food for starving children – The Guardian

Cholera tragedy in Indian village sheds light on power debts – Thomson Reuters Foundation

HIV drugs shortage looming large for Kerala – The Hindu

Hiring and data: how the U.S. will set up new Medicare drug price talks – Reuters

Hearing loss is a direct link to dementia. Easier access to hearing aids could help – NPR

Yemen-Oman twinning project to enhance critical care and save lives – WHO

How do you stop a hospital heist? Appoint a plunder-proof board – Bhekisisa

Issue No. 2129

Global Health NOW is an initiative of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Contributors include Brian W. Simpson, MPH, Dayna Kerecman Myers, Annalies Winny, Morgan Coulson, Melissa Hartman, and Jackie Powder. Write us:, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GHN_News.

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